Mindfulness Strategies to Provide Self-Care
As we move through this first month or two of school, Т I wanted to revisit the conversation of your own self-care as teachers, and specifically explore how you are incorporating mindfulness practice in your own life.
As noted in previous posts and our own conversation as a community, teaching mindfulness begins with your own practice and experience in order to be authentic.
I will start by sharing a few of my own strategies to deepen and enrich a sense of presence in life. Т I hope some of these techniques and ways of being will enrich your repertoire of mindfulness tools to use. Т For each, I will provide additional information from my own blog or other sources via the links.
- Beautiful Moments Practice: Т This is an on-going mindful gratitude practice in which I find and reflect upon the moments that bring joy and a sense of meaning to my daily life.
- Why Not Practice: This is an on-going Т mindful play practice in which I take time to explore the ways in which I can actively engage in the simplicity of the world and all of the opportunities for joy it offers. Т Why not take off my shoes to walk through the grass? Т Dance in the rain instead of running from it? Т Stop and feel the bark of a tree, even hug a tree, as I go on my evening stroll? Т Just because we are adults, it shouldn’t inhibit us from being explorers of the world.
- Heart Breathing: This is a new practice for me, so I haven’t posted on my blog about it yet, but I have been practicing it lately. Т It is a practice to use in times of stress to bring one back to the moment. Т When I was taught the practice, I was told to place both hands on top of one another over my heart, and each three breaths, switch the hand that is on the bottom to be on top.
- Photo Walking: For mindful creativity, I have gone a couple of times now on photo walks by myself where I silently explore the world and take photos of things of interest to me. Т This is an “informal” mindful creativity practice, and a good way to see the world in new and creative ways, a main focus for developing mindful creativity.
- Tree Touching (or just a walk outside): This would be considered an “informal” practice. Т However, in Japan extensively and more recently in the U.S., walking outdoors is a form of group and individual therapy. Т According toТ The University of Minnesota, “Research has shown that, irrespective of socio-economic background, age or gender, natural environments are perceived as an important link to a more stable world, one that assists in reforming chaotic thoughts and feelings into more harmonious forms.”
These are just some of the ways I practice mindfulness and presence in my life. Т As stated before, every night I make time to do a focused attention meditation for fifteen to twenty minutes. Т This is a time when I close my bedroom door, light a candle, shut off the lights and just sit with myself. Т At the end of the practice, I like to journal, reflecting on my beautiful moments or on what my practice was like that day. Т I also attend the local Buddhist temple for an hour-long sitting meditation each Sunday.
You do not have to do all (or any) of these things to be mindful. Т Remember, it is a state of being- not something to “do.” Т I do, hope, however, that you are finding ways to make the “being” of mindfulness part of your own life.
So, this post is also a call to action. Т
You all are experts in your own experience, so I am going to ask that you share your expertise either in a comment to this post or in a post of your own:
Are you engaging in mindfulness practice formally or informally right now? Т If not, what are theТ challenges you are facing to doing so? Т If so, has it been fun, difficult, interesting, centering, boring? Т Are you becoming more mindful in your daily life? Т How has mindfulness impacted you in general?
-By Brandi Lust